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Lake (LACD311)

I often jokingly tell Red Lick customers that I listen to a lot of awful music so they don't have to! There is sadly a some truth in this as, far too often, eager anticipation of a potential new-found gem of a CD soon gives way boredom and annoyance. However, when little gems do turn up, it all seems to be worthwhile, and here I now am, the proverbial kitten that has found some cream.

This 23 track CD is a corker, incorporating vintage American acoustic string music such as hot jazz, 1930s swing, gypsy jazz, early blues, American songbook crooning and so much more, all thrown together in just about the most playing-est amalgam possible, always respectful but not overly reverential. 

The core trio is led by multi-instrumentalist Spats Langham, ably supported by Malcolm Sked and Danny Blyth. Veterans of the UK jazz scene, between them they play everything from guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, clarinet, tuba, even triangle and energetically apply it across a bewildering canvas of musical styles - from the lively gypsy jazz opener of Swing Gitane, through classic period songs of Kern and Hammerstein, George and Ira Gershwin and Irving Berlin, taking in Greig's Norwegian Dance (Op35 No 2), even ending the set with a sprightly version of Louis Prima's Oh, Marie. This is clearly music made and played to be enjoyed.

The sheer diversity of the album works in its favour and I love it all, but special mention must go to the laugh-out loud versions of songs such as South American Joe, Hard Hearted Hannah and, especially, Skirts.

If you liked the recent Ken & Bob CD on Grass Skirt and have enjoyed the likes of CW Stoneking and Pokey LaFarge over recent years, turn your ear to this!


Review Date: August 2012

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